Minestrone Della Nonna Fanny



15 min


55 min


6 to 8

Minestrone Della Nonna Fanny

(Illustration: Rachel Wada)

Versions of this versatile soup have been around since ancient Roman soldiers ate minestrone for sustenance. Every nonna makes it differently and, aside from a few specific rules, minestrone is flexible and lenient.


  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion , diced
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 to 3 medium carrots , diced
  • 2 to 3 celery stalks , diced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 medium yellow potato , finely chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini , diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1 cup tomato passata
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped swiss chard
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh parsley , chopped
  • 1 Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano cheese rind
  • 1 cup tubetti, tubettini, or other small pasta
  • 1 540-mL can cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Crusty bread , for serving


  1. Heat a large pot over medium. Add oil and then onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to sweat. Add garlic. Stir for 1 min. Add carrots, celery and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 min. Add potato and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Stir tomato paste and hot water in a small bowl until combined. Add to vegetables. Stir in tomato passata. Cook for 2 to 3 min.
  3. Add 8 cups water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Add Swiss chard, parsley and cheese rind. Reduce heat to low. Simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, 30 to 50 min.
  4. Cook pasta following package directions. Drain and stir into minestrone along with beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Divide soup among bowls. Garnish with grated cheese. Serve with crusty bread.

Kitchen tips

Freeze harvested vegetables to use later on. You can add broccoli, peas, cabbage, fennel bulb, green beans and/or any other vegetable your heart desires to your minestrone. Make it vegan by leaving out the cheese and adding a bit of vegetable bouillon to taste. Infuse your minestrone with more flavour by cooking 100 g pancetta, diced, with the onion. Minestrone freezes well, and Nonna Fanny would love it if you ate all of your leftovers. Buon appetito!